Set in the midst of the Norfolk broads, made up of small market squares and winding streets you will find the quaint town of Beccles.
Adjacent to the large bell tower sits The Swan House, an independently owned inn.
This Tudor building is full of character and marries style with tradition.
Upon arrival we are shown to our room, and what an entrance it is, as we pass through a candlelit courtyard, strewn with vines and greenery. Standing at the heavy oak door of ‘William’s Room’, complete with bespoke swan shaped door handles, it opens to reveal a cosy hideaway – both elegant and traditional.
There are five rooms, all of which combine work from local craftsmen, painters and artists, and each one named after a previous owner or resident of the building.
The Swan House is completely dog friendly; so on this occasion our Norfolk Terrier Archie joined us. Needless to say he was very excited!
Behind the business…
Owners of The Swan House, Gordon and Lesley Dumphie, recently took over the business at the end of last year, but this isn’t Lesley’s first time here, after having a previous business in the building over 20 years ago.
It’s clear the couple’s passion is at the heart of The Swan, they have spent time perfecting the new menu, restoring the relaxed and comfortable bar and eating area, and overall creating a homely feel throughout.
Food & Drink…
As we head down for dinner the place is buzzing. There is a real feel of warmth and merriment on this Friday evening.
I take my seat at the table and a voice behind me declares, “This is the best chocolate mousse I’ve ever had”, a good sign for things to come.
The menu offers an assortment of light bites and sharing platters, it’s a great way to explore more dishes especially with friends.
We ordered the Cheese Croquettes with Paprika Mayonnaise, Garlic Fried Mushrooms, Batata Hara with Garlic, Warm Spices, Fresh Herbs and Lime, Assorted Mushrooms & Blue Cheese Melts On Tiger Bread and the Houmous, Tapenade, Roasted Vegetables, Tomatoes & Curried Bread. It was a feast fit for a king with the freshest and highest quality ingredients.
To finish, I just had to try the Chocolate Mousse (that was still getting echoes of praise from around the room). To back up the gentleman behind me, it was the best chocolate mousse I’d had, complete with a surprise cherry at the bottom of the dish.
At the end of the meal we were lucky enough to meet head chef, Maria. She had a real enthusiasm for food and absolutely loved her job at The Swan.
As things were winding down for the evening, we retired to our room. After a cup of coffee and with a book in hand from the well stocked ‘in room’ library we enjoyed some much needed down time after a busy week.
What to do whilst visiting…
In the summer months, Beccles Lido is one of those ‘must see and do’ experiences for the spring/summer, (not long to wait), this traditional outdoor heated swimming pool sits right alongside the river, with plenty of paved and grassy places to sunbathe!
If you’d prefer to stay on dry ground, there are plenty of walks to take you through the lush Waveney Valley. Follow the river as it meanders through the pretty Suffolk countryside, or head northwards and explore the Beccles Marshes.
There is also the Beccles Public Hall, which holds regular performances for the theatre and music lover.
Events throughout the year include the Beccles Antiques Street Market and the Beccles Food and Drink festival, both in May. Plus, the town has its very own carnival in August.
Here you will find a cosy base to explore the Suffolk Heritage Coast and Norfolk Broads. Oozing charm and character, The Swan House welcomes everyone, whether it’s an escape away, dinner with friends or a coffee on your own during the day, you’ll find a place you’ll want to visit time and time again.
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